Key Grammar Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

In this class we will study infinitives of purpose.

​The ‘to infinitive’ is formed with to + base verb.

For example: to swim

We went to the beach to swim in the ocean.

You can use a ‘to infinitive’ to express the purpose of an action (why you do something). Look at the two examples below.

I went to the mechanic because I wanted him to fix my car.
I went to the mechanic to fix my car.

The meaning of the two sentences is the same. However, sentence 2, which contains an infinitive of purpose, is much more concise (short and easy to understand).

The infinitive of purpose answers the question ‘why?’

I went to the mechanic.

Why?

To fix my car.
 
This can be simple language to use correctly and still impress the IELTS examiner. If you use infinitives of purpose in your writing or speaking it shows you understand and can use this type of complex grammar structure and this will improve your grammar band score. Let’s practice what we know with a quiz. See if you can complete the quiz in 4 minutes.

00:00:00

​QUIZ

​Rewrite the following sentences using infinitives of purpose. The meaning of the original sentence/sentences and your sentence must be exactly the same. Use the example we looked at earlier to help you. (Notice the infinitive of purpose in that last sentence!)
1. I went to the coffee shop because I wanted to meet my best friend.
I went to the coffee shop my best friend.
2. I often travel by public transport. I want to save money.
I often travel by public transport money.
3. I’m studying at university. I want to be a pharmacist.
I’m studying at university a pharmacist.
4. I called my uncle because I needed to find out what time he would arrive.
I called my uncle what time he would arrive.
5. I stayed late at the office. I had to finish the project.
I stayed late at the office the project.
6. I bought a new sofa for putting in the living room.
I bought a new sofa in the living room.
7. I have been working extra hours because I need to earn more money.
I have been working extra hours more money.
8. I’m learning another language so I have a better chance of promotion at work.
I’m learning another language a better chance of promotion at work.
9. He does a lot of exercise. He wants to become healthier.
He does a lot of exercise healthier.
10. We are organizing a big surprise party. We want to celebrate his fortieth birthday.
We are organizing a big surprise party his fortieth birthday.
11. I started running a course for helping new mothers look after their babies.
I started running a course new mothers look after their babies.
12. I usually go to the supermarket so I can buy everything I need in one place.
I usually go to the supermarket everything I need in one place.
Did you do well? ​Now let’s practice using this language in speaking. Record yourself answering the questions below. Listen for any mistakes you make and correct them in your second recording.
  1. Why are you doing IELTS?
  2. Why do you usually use your phone?
  3. Why do you check your favourite website?
  4. Why do you go on holiday?

You can also listen to Sam answering these questions:

Infinitives of Purpose Quiz.mp3
File Size: 788 kb
File Type: mp3

Download File


​Remember to use infinitives of purpose in your speaking and writing and you will boost your grammar band score.

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